30 Key Farming Tips for Beginners
Farming to a non-farmer is all about growing crops and rearing animals. But to you who’s starting it as a profession, there’s a lot more you need to know.
Leaping into farming with no knowledge of the most basic farming tips can leave you frustrated and annoyed. Getting a complete guide to starting a farm may be able to save you some stress.
So, to get you started on this amazing journey, I have some tips handy for you.
Asides from knowing the common agricultural problems and their solutions, if your farming business is going to thrive, there are some specific things that you absolutely must have.
The good news is you can find out what they are in the post below. Some might even surprise you! Here are some key farming tips for total beginners.
1. Buy Land
First of all, before anything else, to run a successful agriculture business, you will need land to plant on.
Of course, not just any old land will do either. You will need land that has soil rich in nutrients to become a successful farmer.
You can even invest in fertilizers if your soil isn’t rich enough in nutrients as well.
Although it is always best to find a spot with good quality soil before you begin as there is only so much you can put back in.
2. Time and dedication
Another thing you will need to run a successful farm is time. This is because farming is labour-intensive work, that will have you up at the crack of dawn and working late into the night.
Indeed, if you are in a stage of your life where being social, and partying is particularly important to you, running your own farm business may not be the option right now.
However, if you really want to start making money from farming, you will need to put in the work.
In fact, unlike other businesses that can be largely automated to require no personal power, farming is a business that will require a great deal of personal dedication, if you want to succeed.
The next thing you need to run a successful agricultural business is the right equipment. Of course, the exact pieces you will need will depend on what you are growing.
There are also certain factors to consider before purchasing equipment for your business.
For example, farms specializing in growing fruit may wish to invest in automated pickers, while businesses focused on growing corn will need a combine harvester machine instead.
Most agricultural businesses will require equipment such as tractors, rotavators, and irrigation systems as well. Some may even need greenhouses, depending on the type of crops grown.
Bear in mind that even if you can’t afford to buy such pieces of equipment outright, you may be able to get them on hire purchase or lease them.
So, try to keep your overheads low but access the equipment your farm needs to run correctly.
You can check out Real Industries for livestock equipment and live cattle panels in Canada.
4. Knowledge of farming
Last of all, to run a genuinely successful farm business you will need plenty of knowledge about your crops and the processes needed to grow them.
In particular, this means understanding the ins and outs of crop rotation, a method of growing that can help you minimize issues like pests and soil erosion, as well as maximize your crop.
The easiest way to get experience and knowledge in the farming venture you are about to undertake is by working under someone with years of experience in the business.
The truth is that you need preparation to enable you to adapt quickly to the unexpected that comes with farming.
Getting experience will hone your risk management skill and give you knowledge of what, how, when, and where to expend your resources when a situation occurs.
5. Lay out your goal, business plan, and everything you’ve got
It is easy to get land, have it cleared up, and start growing crops.
Anyone can do it. But as someone looking to take farming as a profession, you need to go beyond the basics. You need to do and know more!
To get started, there are certain questions you need to ask yourself. Giving an answer to these questions will enable you to see clearly your goals and direction to take.
- Have you conducted an analysis of the farming business you are about to take?
- What skills do you need in the farming line you are taking? What is your risk management skill? Do you have skills in strategic positioning and finance management?
- What is the viability of your marketing strategies? Is your marketing strategies out of the box? What’s the stand on your production capacity and knowledge of the career you are taking on?
- Are you thinking of starting small? Do you have any sort of education on it?
Just like every other business, you need to have a vision and a clear path that gets to it.
You see, it’s easy to get frustrated as a newbie farmer. Economic, climatic, physical, technological, and political factors are all there to get you losing hope and focus.
The only way to evade it all is by knowing everything there is to know in the farming field you are getting on.
So, the first tip to know as a beginning farmer is that the journey won’t be so smooth, but having a spelt-out plan can guarantee you success.
A spelt-out plan gives you a detailed picture of your financial situation before you get too far in the farming path you have chosen.
6. Start Small
The urge to start big can be very irresistible. But as a beginner, don’t entertain the thought of it lest you fall into regret.
Farming as a profession is filled with the highest uncertainty and risk.
Anything can happen, and most of these things will be way beyond your control. So to be on the safe side, it is advisable that you start with something you know you would be okay with if a situation should occur.
Other than that, there is another reason for you to start on a small scale. You may not know this, but the farming business requires investment each year to keep it in operation.
Some of the money investments will be channelled into buying lands, pieces of equipment, and crops/livestock, while the rest of the money invested will go into fuel and equipment maintenance, seeds and fertilizer; chemicals; and utility bills.
So even if you think you have enough investment to start in a big way, you still need to start in a small way to enable you to grasp the whole layout of how things will be if you later go big.
Just so you know, there are some other advantages to starting small. As a newbie farmer, small-scale farming gives you close supervision of the details of your farming business.
It also enables you to have a clear understanding of how demand works for your product. Along with this, there’s also the gain of easy management.
7. Join a Farmers Association
You must have heard the popular quote that “a tree can’t make a forest.” Well, it’s true.
As someone new to a venture, there’s one thing you need to know, and it’s that you cannot do it alone.
You need the support and wisdom from people with years of experience, and a farmer association happens to be the best place to find the experts and the key factors to drive your business success.
As a beginner farmer, the first attempt at success at farming is what you need to drive your motivation. But what if there is less outcome than expected after giving farming the first try?
A farmer’s association is what you need as a preventive measure against this occurrence. Joining an association gives you exclusive access to relevant information on appropriate seasons and times as well as banned agrochemical products.
You also stand a chance to gain mentorship support from already successful farmers – this, of course, is one of the major benefits to gain.
In the farming business, you can never know enough. Each year of farming brings with it something new to learn.
Other benefits associated with joining an association include easy access to government funds and other agribusiness support.
This may include assistance on best farming practices, provision of farming facilities, escape from government overregulation, protection from trade relation policies, and provision of business and education resources.
8. Embrace Diversification
You may want to reconsider your thought of scrolling past this farming tip. It’s fine that you plan to find your niche and give your all to it.
But if you have a chance to diversify your farm, then one of the best ideas you can ever get is to go for it.
As you should know by now, farming comes with lots of risks that can’t easily be evaded.
Diversifying your farm will give you an edge over these risks by expanding your market and offsetting commodity price swings.
A farmer dealing in a variety of crops is less susceptible to collapse because the more variety of crops on your farm as a beginner means the more you are able to withstand tragedy if it occurs.
But as much as this is a bit of great advice for you as a beginner, it should only be adopted if you have knowledge of some variety of crops.
9. Lease Land
You may have had this idea in mind, but now that you know it’s a great farming tip, go for it.
New farmers love the idea of leasing land as it is a realistic way to cut down the cost of running a farm. And with time, you’ll come to love it too.
One of your biggest obstacles as a farmer is a lack of access to land. Land leasing gives you the opportunity to overcome this obstacle.
It is much cheaper to lease land than to buy it. So as you kick start your farming career, have it in mind to lease a farm.
Leave the idea of purchasing land until you have a track record of generating income with your farming career.
10. Get Familiar With The Land and Climate
When starting a farm, the most important thing to always look out for is the land and the climate condition of the place where the land is located.
The land you choose to farm on greatly determines what you farm, how you farm, and the level of your productivity.
Climate condition, on the other hand, is a big determinant of what you can raise and how far your productivity level will go.
Different crops require different land conditions and climates. So before deciding to lease land, it is crucial that you study everything about the environment.
You can get a soil sample and take it up for testing if you have the means to do so, but if you can’t, you can simply ask the locals around or fellow farmers about the land and climate of the place.
Always remember that moderate warming and more carbon dioxide are great for growing most plants (the highlight is most plants). High heat isn’t suitable for livestock farming, and extreme weather condition isn’t ideal for rearing fishes.
11. Water supply
You need access to a close-by water supply, and that has proper drainage as well.
You should get a water bore drilling company to come and sink a well for you. It will provide easy access to the water you will need to care for your crops.
Proper drainage will help you manage your water use as well. After all, you will want them to have enough but not too much as this can also cause problems such as rot!
12. Attacks from pests
Do you know a farmer’s greatest enemy? They are pests and rodents.
As a beginner in the farming field, you need to equip yourself with knowledge on how to tackle the danger posed by pests and rodents.
Get knowledge on signs of attack on your crops. Try as much as possible to practice preventive measures to get rid of pests and rodents on your farm.
There are many pest control methods. The pest control method includes chemical, biological, and cultural control.
Examples of pests and rodents you need to tackle on your farmland include rats, squirrels, birds, and reptiles.
Did you know that weeds can also be categorised as pests? Weeds are unwanted plants that can hinder your plant growth.
One of the major ways of dealing with rodents on your farm includes setting a trap and getting a glue board that can trap unsuspecting rats.
Spray your plant with insecticide to make it look unattractive to pests and rodents. Expect attacks from pests and rodents and arm yourself with defensive measures to tackle the dangers posed by pests. It is one of the agricultural problems and solutions you cannot overlook.
13. Read Farming blogs
As a beginner in farming, you need knowledge of how farming works. Either you are a livestock farmer or a crop farmer. You need information.
There is an adage that says that information is power. Read farming blogs to keep you updated on farming activities.
If you are not informed, you might be deformed. Are you planning to be a livestock farmer or a crop farmer?
Then you need information. Do you know the difference between a livestock farmer and a crop farmer?
A livestock farmer deals with the rearing of animals such as chickens, turkeys, goats, etc while a crop farmer deals with the planting of crops such as cocoa, cashew, maize, etc.
As a crop farmer, what type of soil and climate is suitable for the crop you intend to plant? As a livestock farmer, did you know the various disease related to the animals you intend to rear?
Are you lost in your thoughts? That’s why reading farming blogs is important to get information on farming tips.
14. Seed Selection
As a farmer, there are many factors you need to consider before planting a crop.
What are the major factors? The main factors include the fertility of the soil.
Are you aware that loamy soil is the best soil that is suitable for planting? Besides you need to assess the climatic conditions before planting your crops.
15. Buy second-hand Quality farming equipment
Did you know that farming has gone beyond the use of manual labour? You need farming tools such as tractors, ploughs, and sprayers.
As a beginner, you need all these farming tools to enhance the smooth running of your farming activities. They serve as support services for your business.
In case you don’t have enough money at your disposal. Why not buy second-hand farming equipment such as tractors, and sprayers?
Second-hand farming tools are cheap and affordable. They are environmentally helpful.
Why do you need to buy these second-hand farming tools? You need it so that you can achieve maximum productivity on your farm.
16. Employ Experienced farm workers
An adage says ” Experience is the best teacher”. Do you know that you can learn from the experienced workers you employed if you are willing to learn?
Farming requires experience and you can learn some survival strategies for your business by tapping into the knowledge of your farm workers.
Learning from your experienced workers is one of the greatest farming tips that will help you achieve success. Try to maintain a mutual relationship with your workers.
While your workers get paid for their work, tap into their farming knowledge by asking them questions about farming activities.
They won’t hesitate to answer you because you hired them.
17. Do not be afraid to fail
I hope you are aware that farming is not a business for the faint-hearted. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Every mistake provides experience.
As a beginner in the farming sector, when you plant a crop and it fails to grow. Examine the reasons why such a plant refuses to grow.
As a livestock farmer, observe the reasons why your animals keep falling sick.
Do you think farming is easier than ABC? Farming is not a bed of roses. That’s why you should not be afraid to fail.
18. Apply Fertiliser on your crops regularly
Do you know the secret of steady growth in plants? As breast milk is important to a suckling baby so is fertilizer important to the growth of a plant.
What does fertilizer does to the crop? Fertilizer adds nutrients to the plants. The nutrients include nitrogen and calcium.
Fertiliser improves the productivity of the soil. Due to climate change and the ability of the soil to lose its nutrients after constant use. Fertilizer is important to improve the growth of your plant.
Do you want to plant maize, tomato, rice, and beans? If your answer is in the affirmative. Apply fertilizer to your crops.
There is no plant you wish to plant that will not need the application of fertilizer. The application of fertilizer provides healthy crops.
As your plant grows in every phase. You must apply fertilizer to your plant to ensure proper growth.
At times, you might not have enough cash at your disposal to buy fertilizer, but you can substitute manure for fertilizer.
What are examples of manure? Examples of Manure include animal faeces, urine, dead animals, etc. Using your cow’s dung or pet’s faeces will save you the cost of buying fertiliser.
19. Practice safety measures
Every profession has its risks. The same thing applies to farming. In farming, big machines such as tractors, chainsaws, and ploughs are usually used.
Do you know how to operate this machinery? Some of these machines can be dangerous when it is not properly handled. Practice safety measures when handling these machines.
Some chemicals should not be inhaled while spraying your plants. Use a nose mask to protect your nose when applying harmful chemicals.
As a beginner in livestock farming, some animal reactions can be dangerous. Animals like goats and cows can be very stubborn. You need to protect yourself by practising safety measures.
20. Practice regular self-audits on your farm
Why is self-audit important? Self-audit allows you to recognize if you are achieving progress on your farm or not.
It assists you to know the areas you need to improve yourself. Auditing makes you assess your staff’s work ethics.
The staff you hired to work on your farm, are they truly working or not? That’s the reason why you need to embark on regular audits.
Auditing is important because it exposes the inadequacies going on on your farm. It is important to practice audits.
Embarking on audit is one of the best farming tips you need as a beginner. Are you making a profit on your farm? Auditing will give you the right answer.
21. If not for plants and animals then what
You need farming tips right? For you to be successful in farming, you need to ask yourself these questions why are you growing crops?
Why are you rearing animals? Are you truly passionate about farming?
Are you farming just to get profit or you are just contributing your quotas to humanity to put an end to food shortages?
Knowing the reason why you embark on farming is a great farming tip itself.
22. Select your crops wisely
As a beginner in farming. You need to select your crop wisely.
Consider the kind of land you intend to use to plant your crops. Do you know that it is not every plant that can survive water-logged soil?
Although all plants need water to thrive some plants can’t survive excess water.
Are you planning to sell your crops for commercial purposes? Have you considered if the crop you intend to plant is in high demand in the market?
High demand for a crop in the market and the type of land available are the factors you need to consider before you plant a crop.
If you are a subsistence farmer you need to consider the type of soil available that will fit the crop you want to farm.
A wise selection of crops is an attribute of a good farmer. Selecting your crops wisely is another best farming tip for you to become successful as a beginner.
23. Choose your animals wisely
Are you a beginner in livestock farming, choose your animals wisely. Rearing animals like chickens and turkeys on a large scale requires a huge amount of capital.
Don’t worry you can start your livestock farming on a small scale. Before you rear any animal as a beginner, you need to consider your budget.
Do you want to rear animals like chickens and turkeys? Get ready to build a pen. You can also try your hands at snail farming in case you are on a tight budget.
It is very easy to cater to snails. For pigs, be ready to get your hands dirty.
Some animals like pigs are not consumed generally by the public. Some religions forbid the eating of pigs.
If you are rearing animals for commercial purposes. Choose an animal that is generally consumed by people.
In livestock farming, obtain knowledge on diseases that affect the animal you want to rear so that you can treat your animal when it falls sick. Most farm animals need proper monitoring.
Choosing the animal you want to rear wisely is another farming tip for you to start your farming business as a beginner.
24. Multitask your farming equipment
Do you know that your farm tools can perform various functions? Buying various farm equipment requires huge money.
There are factors to consider before purchasing equipment, however, you can have at least two pieces of farming equipment that will serve various roles on your farm as a beginner.
Get a tractor for a start. Why get a tractor? Tractors perform various functions that range from sowing seeds, to pulling down heavy trees, etc.
Multitasking your farming tools will reduce your expenses because you are a newbie in the farming field what do you think?
25. Level your field
Before planting a crop on your field. Ensure you clear your field so that making ridges will be easier for you. Clear every weed that might want to hinder your plant growth.
26. Start from your experience
Experience matters in every facet of life and farming are not excluded.
There are two major branches of agriculture which are crop farming and livestock farming.
If you have more knowledge of crops, don’t lay your hands on livestock farming until you are sure of yourself.
Your knowledge of livestock production should not translate to crop production. It is important you have a knowledge of your business and start from there.
Your little farming experience is also a great farming tip. Don’t push it aside.
27. Become a student of farming
Do you need farming tips? Try becoming a farming student.
There are many ways you can be a student of farming. You can become a farming student by self-study.
Read books written by experienced farmers. Attend seminars on livestock production and crop production.
You can also be a student of farming by undergoing training from an experienced farmer. Attend institutions that focus on farming to boost your knowledge of farming activities.
As a beginner, register in your mind that farming is a serious business.
Being a student of agriculture will open your knowledge to what it means to be an agricultural entrepreneur having mind-blowing ideas about farming.
28. Consider Technology
Farming has gone beyond using manual labourers. Have you heard of mechanized farming?
Mechanized farming is the usage of modern farming equipment to boost farming production.
Technology is designed to make life easier for you.
Modern farming equipment like tractors will make ridges for you within seconds. All these modern farming equipment are fast as lighting.
Do you know the happiest thing about considering technology in the farming business? You won’t get tired easily because it is machines that will do the job.
Considering technology is another farming tip you need to succeed in the farming sector.
29. Research on the Market need
Do you know that there are two types of agriculture? There is subsistence and commercial agriculture.
As a beginner in farming, researching about the market needs will yield you profit if you are planning to farm for commercial purposes.
What does the market need?
In festive seasons like Sallah and Christmas, rams and chickens are usually in high demand. Market demand is a very important farming tip you need to know.
30. Manage Cost
Farming is an expensive exercise if you are starting on a large scale.
Are you starting on a large or small scale? Whether you are starting on a small or large scale, you need to manage costs.
Process your animal feeds if needs to reduce expenses.
As a way of cutting down expenses, use manure instead of buying fertilizers.
As a beginner in farming. You need to manage your cost so that you can have enough resources at your disposal.
With this information, do you still find farming interesting?
The above farming tips for beginners may look like something sent to deter you from venturing into farming, but it is not what it looks like.
Healthy and sustainable farming practice is what an elder in the farming practice would want for a beginner.
So buckle up and go for it. The tips, as mentioned earlier, aren’t there to weaken your morals but to encourage and build you up as you begin your new farm.